A statement issued on January 15 by South Korea's Office for Government Policy Coordination (a branch of the Prime Minister's Secretariat) warned that a national ban of cryptocurrency trading remains a possibility.
The proclamation made reference to an announcement by Justice Minister Park Sang-ki the week prior, in which he claimed that the government was preparing a bill to prohibit the trade of virtual currencies through exchanges, causing alarm in the Korean cryptocurrency community. The fracas deepened when other South Korean government bodies made conflicting announcements later that day.
According to a Korea Herald translation of Monday's declaration, a "governmentwide decision [on the ban] will be made in the future after sufficient consultation and coordination of opinions."
In the same statement, the government pledged to "respond strongly to excessive virtual currency speculation and illegal activities," but to also invest in blockchain research and development.
Additionally, the statement related that, following the implementation of the "real name system" (one of several special measures announced on December 28, 2017), cryptocurrency traders using anonymous accounts will be required to switch over to accounts linked to their identities or face fines. Yonhap News reported a day earlier that unnamed financial authorities had made an announcement to the same effect.
The statement also noted that "virtual currency is not legal currency and nobody guarantees [its] value."
Quotes translated from Korean using Google Translate, unless otherwise noted.